THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 78.
A letter from Antonio de Berrio to the King.
December 3rd, 1594, San Josephe de Oruna.
Source :--Additional Mss. 36316, British Museum. Published
by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
Sire, Whenever I can I give information to Your Majesty
and to Your Royal Council of the things which are done and
which I am doing in the expedition to El Dorado.
Last year I wrote to Your Majesty how the Maestro
de Campo Domingo de Vera y Ibargoien with only 35
Spaniards and by means of I,ooo ducats of barter had entered
and seen the beginnings of the magnificence of those provinces
which it was impossible to do by force according to the many
people who have tried to do it with 500 men and on account
of this the neighboring Governors have been so envious that
they try in every way possible to do me harm. This Island
of Trinidad which I settled three years ago for depot and
entrance to these great provinces is being depopulated and
they are doing it with so much diligence that part of the
natives have rebelled and the Caribs of the Islands of Dominica,
Grenada and other neighboring places harass and injure me
and though they have seen this and Your Majesty wrote
and commanded them to assist me by very precise orders,
they have not been willing to do so.
From the New Kingdom of Granada where I sent my
son, he is commencing to send down troops which I have
placed in the provinces of Carapana which is the entrance
to the great provinces and he writes to me that this summer
he will come down with 150 soldiers or more. Considering
the number of troops that I require in order to begin to
conquer and settle these great provinces and the few that
I have and that I cannot get the Indians owing to the malice
of my neighbours I wrote to Your Majesty begging for
permission to sell the 500 licences for negroes which your
Majesty had granted to me as appears by my covenants so
that the proceeds of them might be converted into troops
and supplies for this expedition.
As time passes I have thought it best to send Domingo
de Vera y Ybargoien who has served Your Majesty as Maestro
de Campo in this expedition to give a very particular account
to Your Majesty of everything new and to beg that the favour
that I ask may be granted. It is for Your Majesty's service
and as great service to God will result from it, I beg Your
Majesty to grant me this favour.
I beseech Your Majesty to give the Maestro de Campo
for his great labours and many services a livery of Santiago
for honour of his person ; and for his support if God will
he shall be satisfied here in YourMajesty's name in reward
for his many services and labours.
As he brings a very ample report to lay before the Ro)al
Council, it is not right to fatigue Your Majesty whom may
God preserve for many years as Christendom needs.
Your Catholic and Royal Majesty, your servant and vassal
kisses Your Majesty's Royal feet.
From San Josephe de Oruna,
Island of Trinidad,
December 3rd, 1594.
ANTONIO DE BERRIO.